Cullman Senior Magazine Summer 2019 - Page 20

Robert Bates & Janice Bates in 1978 Fair Parade. Sherrel Hancock driver. fast within the company.”
 Bates was promoted to salesman and soon began working the Cullman area. “I made a lot of friends with all the grocery store owners. That was where I really learned the importance of dealing with the public.”
 And of course, he credits the job as instilling in him a love for politics he didn’t realize was so deep rooted.
 His great-great-grandfather, T.W. McMinn, was the county’s fi st probate judge serving from 1877 to 1880. McMinn left h s post to become sheriff when a newly-elected lawman resigned after only a few months in offi . He served as sheriff rom 1880 to 1886 and died while in offi .
 Bates followed in history by becoming the fi st to be elected to five six-year consecutive terms as circuit clerk. 
 “I guess you could say my fi st experience in elec- tions began in the early 70s in a city council race. Mr. L.J. Carr, who was a co-worker and a friend, was running for re-election. I worked door-to-door and enjoyed it. I soon found that the best approach was to do little talking and a whole lot of listening.”
 Bates fi st ran for office in he late ‘70s when the office f tax collector and tax assessor was com- bined into one office f revenue commissioner. 
 “There were six that ran and I was in a run-off with a longtime employee, who was elected. I never felt defeated. I called it being detained. Many of my friends and elected offi als encouraged me to run for office gain and said that the Honorable Ruth Gasser (circuit clerk) would probably retire at the end of her term,” Bates said. 
 Gasser did retire, and Bates entered the 1982 election. Finishing second and making his way into a runoff, where he won the election.
 “I considered it to be a high honor to have been administered the oath of office in anuary 1983 by the Honorable C.C. Bo Tolbert, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court,” Bates said.
 “When I began serving as clerk in 1983, the most advanced piece of equipment we had was typewrit- ers. After a few years, we received our fi st comput- ers. After everyone got familiar with using them, we all agreed that it was the best thing that could have happened.” 
 In retirement, Bates said his strong faith that God allowed him to be the circuit clerk for 30 years for the mere purpose of helping others and do his best to set a good Christian example is a true blessing.
 “I will forever be grateful to God and for the many friends, family and supporters who allowed me the opportunity to serve as their circuit clerk.”
 Bates said a long-time favorite saying comes to mind he refl cts on his time in office nd keeps close to his heart today: “What we do for ourselves alone usually dies with us. What we do for other’s lives on and on.” “The word integrity comes to mind when I think about Robert; he served Cullman County so well and was respected by so many.” Randy Helms: Administrator Director of Courts